Our Events & Initiatives.
The Seneca hosts a variety of internal events, as well as many campus-wide events, some of which are described below.
Open, Non-Listed Parties
Starting with a 2018 Valentine's Day Party that was open to all undergraduates regardless of gender or extracurricular affiliations, the Seneca has committed itself to hosting parties open to all Harvard undergraduates. Like in the past, Seneca members noticed that few free parties were explicitly open to everyone in campus spaces and decided that more than ever there was need for safe and inclusive social spaces. We hope to host more parties like these in Fall 2018 to help diversify Harvard's social scene.
During the spring and summer of 2015, several women at the College, including several women in The Seneca, were talking about some of the voids they saw in Harvard's social scene. Two themes that came up were the fact that Harvard women rarely have the chance to host open parties, and that there was rarely an opportunity to see all of their friends at the same event--parties were usually centered around different clubs and organizations. In an attempt to address these voids, they decided to plan a party of our own. These women reached out to every women’s organization they knew of on campus, and asked whether they would be interested in helping to plan a free, open, on-campus party in the fall. But they also realized that Harvard students focus a lot on the “titles” and “affiliations” that separate us, and not enough on our common experience as students. Therefore, they decided to officially remove all specific group affiliations from the event’s publicity and just retain their shared identity as women’s groups, in order to send the message that this is a party organized by women-identified students for all students, no matter what you do or how you identify.
The name [BLANK] Party was developed in the vein that people should feel free to “fill in the blank” in order to include as wide a range of students as possible.
The members of The Seneca were thrilled that [BLANK] Party had a second rendition in 2016 and hope that its legacy will help to play a role in a larger shift in the Harvard social scene towards inclusive, collaborative, and gender-equitable events.
Job Negotiation Strategies for Women
In October 2015, the Seneca co-hosted an event with the Harvard College Women's Center and HKS professor Kessely Hong to help women assess their comfort when self-advocating in job negotiations, to better understand some of the challenges facing women negotiators, and to share advice for strategies one can use to successfully negotiate. We believe events like these help fulfill the professional-advancement aspect of our mission, which includes helping women fight the pay gap and other power inequalities in the workforce. We hope to host more professional workshops in the future through a collaboration with the HCWC.
Women's Faculty Reception (founded in Spring 2010)
The Seneca and the Harvard College Women's Center co-sponsored Harvard's first-ever Women's Faculty Reception, honoring women faculty while building connections between professors and undergraduates. Undergraduate students of all genders are encouraged to attend and invite members of the Harvard teaching community. Following a panel composed of engaging speakers in various stages of their academic careers, everyone is invited to enjoy refreshments.
Women's Week (founded in Spring 2007)
The Seneca and the Harvard College Women's Center co-founded Women’s Week to create greater community among women’s groups and promote women’s issues. This week is held every spring and features events related to women’s issues sponsored by a variety of different student organizations. Most recently, The Seneca hosted events on reimagining Harvard's physical spaces to foster inclusivity and reception celebrating women in the visual arts.
The Red Party
The Seneca held the first Red Party in April of 1999. As the first Harvard party open to all undergraduates, The Red Party was a revolutionary idea that has inspired various other campus-wide parties. The Red Party was the first use of Facebook profile pictures to advertise an event, which turned into the first Facebook advertisement! The party was created to establish a comfortable social space open to the entire undergraduate community. One goal of [BLANK] Party was to continue this tradition!
Harvard HPV Awareness Campaign
Inspired by the FDA's approval of GARDASIL, a vaccine that protects women against 4 strains of Human Papillomavirus (HPV), The Seneca spearheaded an information-based campaign in partnership with 14 other groups on campus to promote awareness of HPV and encourage women to make informed decisions about whether or not to get the vaccine. The campaign included informational posters and emails, as well as asking students to wear bright orange shirts with slogans about the campaign to build visual awareness. One aspect of the campaign was a postcard petition to encourage Harvard University Health Services to reduce the cost of the vaccine. Campaign organizers also met with the Director of University Health Services, as well as the Director of Medicine to talk about subsidy options, resulting in UHS providing the vaccine free of charge.